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Carbon County's economy concludes third quarter with dropping employment levels

Impacts linked to the Crandall Canyon mine disaster last August have served as a solemn reminder of the boom and bust nature of natural resource based economies in the southeastern Utah region.

During third quarter 2007, overall employment in Carbon County decreased 1.4 percent compared with 2006, according to the latest data compiled by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

The decline equates to a decrease of 126 positions in Carbon County's labor force.

The decreasing employment level is painful since the ripple effects of the slowdowns and shutdowns of several mines will have additional impacts in future quarters, pointed out DWS regional economist Michael Hanni.

Net employment losses were concentrated in Carbon County's goods producing industries.

Mining dropped 32 positions, construction lost 52 jobs and manufacturing weakened, shedding 43 jobs.

The government sector represented the only industry in Carbon County to report employment gains in third quarter 2007.

Neighboring Emery County posted negative employment changes in third quarter 2007. The number of jobs in the county was down 50 from 2006 for a decline of 1.3 percent.

The primary drivers of the negative performance were transportation, with a loss of 78 positions and mining, with a decrease loss of 55 jobs, indicated the DWS regional economist.

Emery County experienced slight employment increases in administrative services and construction.

"However, what stumbles down low also can rise up strong. That is the fickle nature of natural resource based industries. At the same time, we are seeing renewed activity in the region's uranium industry as well as the likely opening of the Lila Canyon coal mine," noted the DWS economist.

At the state level, Utah's job growth dipped to 2.3 percent in February, mirroring the nation's downward trend in employment expansion.

The 2.3 percent growth in the state's non-farm wage and salaried jobs represented a decrease from January's 2.6 percent employment expansion rate, indicated the department of workforce services' latest Trendlines report.

On a second negative econmic note, the number of home foreclosures in Utah jumped nearly 52 percent in February compared to 2007 data.

The statewide data rivals the national year-over-year foreclosure increase of nearly 60 percent.

The U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, by market analysis firm RealtyTrac Inc., shows Utah's monthly increase registered at 33 percent and the rise from February 2007 hit the 51.9 percent mark.

The report ranked Utah in 15 place on the nationwide listing due to the state's foreclosure rate - up from 22 in January.

According to the data, one Utah household in 678 was the subject of a notice of default or notice of trustee sale or foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank, explained the department of workforce services.

Utah had 1,288 properties falling into the designated categories in February.

In addition, Utah ranked fifth in the nation for mortgage fraud and state leaders have vowed to crack down on the problem, indicated the department of workforce services.

A report by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute determined that the Beehive State had a high incidence of people committing mortgage fraud.

The most common types of fraud included misstating income or employment history and falsifying financial information, concluded the department of workforce services.

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